Falkirk residents' anger over Kelpies artist's burger van ban

Falkirk residents have reacted with anger over Kelpies creator Andy Scott's insistence a burger bar be removed from the vicinity of the attraction.

Kelpies artist Andy Scott claims the Artisan Grill "defiles" his creation. Picture: Michael Gillen
Kelpies artist Andy Scott claims the Artisan Grill "defiles" his creation. Picture: Michael Gillen

The artist behind the 30-metre high mythical horses was “flabbergasted” when a “fake Bavarian burger bar” was put up within metres of his creation earlier this year.

He claimed the fast food cabin Artisan Grill, approved by Falkirk Community Trust (FCT) in March, was “offensive” and prevented tourists properly viewing the horses.

Mr Scott – who owns the intellectual property rights for the statues – even threatened legal action over the “sauce-stained” stall.

Now Falkirk Council’s planning review panel, consisting of councillors Baillie William Buchanan, Colin Chalmers and John McLuckie, has turned down a retrospective application for the stall – meaning it will have to be removed.

The stall’s owners, Supreme Fast Foods, previously had their application turned down but asked for a review, even offering to relocate to a less controversial spot.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “The operators were previously refused planning permission by planning officers under delegated powers. They then asked for a review. The planning review committee of Falkirk Council has upheld officers’ decision to refuse planning permission.”

Mr Scott said: “I am absolutely delighted that good sense has prevailed. This decision means that the artworks and the landscaping will once again be seen in their full glory in the way it was intended.”

He added: “It’s nothing to do with me trying to be unyielding or unwieldy or anything like that. The reality is I have a say. My job is to protect the integrity of the artwork. If these are supposed to be landmarks for the country they should be treated accordingly.”

Mr Scott had threatened legal action if his concerns were not addressed and his stance was backed up by Richard Millar, director of infrastructure with Scottish Canals.

Tom McInally, a town planner action on behalf of Supreme Fast Foods, said the company had agreed to erect the stall in good faith.

He said: “The applicant simply responded to an invitation to tender for a business opportunity advertised on a Scottish Government website at the request of Falkirk Community Trust (FCT).

“The agency responsible for the site invited the operation in. FCT was fully aware of the nature and location of the proposed food unit and allowed the applicant to operate from the site and provided clearance that landowner consent was not required.”

A spokeswoman for the trust said: “The matter of the suitability for this operation in land use terms is a matter for the local planning authority, not FCT or the sculptor.”

Falkirk councillors have previously called into question Mr Scott’s control over the Kelpies, claiming that as it was funded through taxpayer and lottery cash, the public should have more say on how they are managed.

Mr Scott’s latest action has angered many Falkirk residents who made their feelings known on the Herald’s Facebook page this week.

Nicki Reed said: “This is just stupid, he created the Kelpies which are a massive tourist attraction and tourists also want a drink, bite to eat, cake and a chance to chill. There is no way this is offensive.”

Lisa Wardlaw said: “The burger van doesn’t obstruct any view of The Kelpies whatsoever. The burger kiosk is a well kept and nicely decorated area. Nothing like you would find on the side of a road.”